The protagonist of the novel is Leela who lives with her father as a practicing psychiatrist. While this makes her acutely aware of her own imbalances, she is just as powerfully helpless against them. Often she resorts to drugs and counselling sessions. She does not ?swing in her faith? but tends to it in sporadic, intense and bizarre ways. She rarely visits the gurudwara despite being a Sindhi, but reads all her scriptures in the toilet where she does all her studying and thinking. She tries to make her marriage work but as it progressively fails, she conducts ?all her love conversations in the toilet.?
The story goes to her past days in America where she lived with her husband and son, holidaying in Europe everywhere, racing BMWs and ?forsook the entirety with her green card.? After abandoning America she buys a duplex flat near her parents? home and lives with her son. Her marriage has been long over. She has many male friends, calls herself a slut and often goes on guilt trips, crying in them and becoming incommunicative. She makes guilty love calls to her husband, who wants nothing to do with her. Her son Anant meanwhile turns to his father for comfort and security. At mad moments, Leela'shusband threatens to ?swift away Anant to America.?
She is drawn to the author of the novel and with whom she spends their musical evenings. But the relationship does not go far as ?the deterioration of her feelings for me, I can'tsay if it was love, was somehow reflected in those deteriorating musical evenings,? says the author.
After every affair with a new person, Leela returns to the author for solace though both know that it would never work out with each other. Meanwhile Leela'sfather is diagnosed with cancer and she takes care of him as both the other sisters refuse to oblige. Despite doing her best for her father, she is unable to save him and when the author asks her ?What about the expenses?? her reply is, ?I have paid.?
He persists, ?Was it much??
She replies, ?How does it matter? It didn'tsave him??
They part and the author goes to meet Leela when she has lost use of her right arm. He offers to take care of her but she turns him down even when he assures her, ??And you mean everything to me. Everything! You know that.?
Her reply is, ?I know that, which is why it is best that we stay away from each other. I cannot be with anybody very long. I am going to be alone, so I have to learn to live alone.? A moment later she picks up her bag and walks away.
This is a moving story about a girl whose search for love and for self becomes as obsessive and fruitless as her futile attempts at guilty reconciliations with her husband and child.
(Har-Anand Publications Pvt Ltd, E-49/3 Okhla Industrial Area, Phase II, New Delhi-110 020.)